Backyard Chickens for Quinte West
Dear Quinte West City Council: We would like you to change the City by-law to allow residents to keep a limited number of hens (no roosters) in their backyards within City limits. Keeping hens would enable residents to provide a nutritious, delicious, safe, and environmentally friendly eggs for their families, while at the same time teaching our children where food comes from, and what it is worth. Dr. David Waltner-Toews, veterinarian, epidemiologist, and professor at the University of Guelph, as well as president of Veterinarinas without Borders, has written that he knows of “no evidence linking human illness with keeping small urban flocks.” Further, he believes that “if we do not make room for these urban entrepreneurs, we risk losing a set of very important food-rearing skills that will enable us to better navigate the economic, climatic and environmental instability our society will face in the coming decades.” During the course of studying the urban chicken issue, the city of Waterloo received a letter from Dr. Waltner-Toews, who said small, properly cared for flocks offer great social and ecological benefits. Backyard hens have been part of the city scape of New York for years and are also allowed in Seattle, Chicago and Portland and several cities in Ontario, including Niagara Falls, Brampton and Guelph. Please let us join millions of other city dwellers in North America who are allowed to provide eggs for our families by keeping a few hens in the backyard. In order to accommodate concerns regarding the size, cleanliness, and cost related to urban chicken-keeping, any revised legislation could include: 1. Limitation on the size and nature of flocks: Many cities have limited the number of hens permitted to three or four, depending on property size and banned the keeping of roosters within City limits. This addresses public concern around any potential health risks or noise associated with backyard chicken-keeping. 2. Confinement Requirements: Many cities have included confinement requirements, regarding the size and design of coops to house backyard chickens. 3. Distance Requirements Other cities, such as Guelph, ON and Vancouver B.C, have included minimum distances that must be maintained between the coop and adjacent property lines. 4. Permitting Those who wish to keep backyard chickens may apply for a permit, which may be granted or revoked based on the owners compliance with all applicable City bylaws and regulations. Changes to Quinte West zoning to allow the maintenance of a small number of backyard chickens would contribute to the sustainability and health of our community and region, the reduction of our community's carbon footprint and the provision of a healthy local food supply. Quinte West could join other urban centers, providing leadership in creating greener, more sustainable urban environments for current and future generations. Thank you.